Home > News > News in Brief: 11 December 2007

News in Brief: 11 December 2007

A brief list of news for the day:

In Algeria, Twin Bombs Kill at Least 52. At least 52 people were killed and dozens were injured in twin blasts that struck the capital of Algeria Tuesday morning, the deadliest attacks in the city since the North African country plunged into civil war in the 1990s, hospital and other officials said. At least 10 United Nations officials were among the victims. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s bombings. The intended targets were the Algerian Supreme Court and an office complex for U.N. agencies, according to Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni. (Washington Post)

Hamas is ready to turn over the security headquarters. Khalid Mash’al, head of the Hamas politburo, has said that Hamas is ready to form a central government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a gesture to resume negotiations between Hamas and Fatah. He also said Hamas is ready to turn over the security headquarters and other official offices in the Gaza Strip to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Turkish Weekly)

Lebanon postpones presidential election. Lebanon postpones presidential election. Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced the latest election delay after feuding camps agreed to the nation’s army chief, Gen. Michel Suleiman, as a presidential candidate but failed to confirm the nod, Alalam Satellite TV reported. (UPI)

After Endorsement, Medvedev Recommends Putin for Prime Minister. Dmitry Medvedev, who was just endorsed by President Vladimir Putin as his preferred successor, turned around Tuesday and said he wants Putin to serve as prime minister after presidential elections next March. And should Putin accept, it will only add to the sense of invincibility that already surrounds Medvedev’s candidacy. With Putin’s approval ratings above 80 percent, the president’s choice, backed by the Kremlin’s resources, is practically unbeatable. (Washington Post)

Benazir gave me no option: Sharif. The Pakistan Muslim League (Q), an ally of President Pervez Musharraf, said on Monday Nawaz Sharif-led PML (N)’s decision to participate in the election had ensured that the exercise would be credible. Mr. Sharif, who had earlier hinged his party’s participation in the election on the single issue of the reinstatement of the judges dismissed on November 3, said their restoration remained the PML(N)’s “first priority.” (The Hindu)

South American Leaders Launch Bank of the South. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and five other South American leaders met in Argentina on Sunday to officially launch the regional development bank, Banco del Sur (Bank of the South). The bank, which Venezuelan officials estimate will have around $7 billion to start with, is intended to grant the nations of the region greater financial and political independence. Traditionally, poor nations have been dependent on loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), institutions whose loans come with strings attached. (Venezuelanalysis)

Inflation in China climbs to 6.9 percent. Inflation accelerated further in China last month, government statisticians announced Tuesday, as rising costs for food and fuel together with government currency policies are sending prices up briskly across Asia. The big contributors were food prices, which vaulted 18.2 percent, and fuel, which climbed 5.5 percent. (International Herald Tribune)

CIA Director Hayden to testify about destroyed tapes. CIA Director Michael Hayden will testify before Congress today amid Democratic fury over the spy agency’s destruction of videotapes that showed terrorism suspects being interrogated using harsh techniques. (Today’s Zaman/Reuters)

Brussels ‘concerned’ at latest Israeli land grab. EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said Monday she was “very much concerned” at Israel’s decision to allow further construction of Jewish settlements in Occupied East Jerusalem. Separately on Monday, UN officials called on Israel to end its fuel and electricity cuts to Gaza. Israel does not consider construction in East Jerusalem – which it captured in the 1967 war – as settlement growth because it illegally annexed the Arab eastern sector of the Holy City shortly after the conflict.Its decision to do so was never recognized internationally. (The Daily Star)

Israeli Forces Move Into Gaza. Israeli troops accompanied by about a dozen tanks moved into southern Gaza today, a day before Israelis and Palestinians are due to hold their first talks on a comprehensive peace following the American-led conference in Annapolis, Md. The Israelis went as far as two miles into Hamas-run Gaza, near the towns of Khan Yunis and Rafah, and engaged Palestinian gunmen along the border, according to Palestinian residents and Israeli army spokesmen. (New York Times)

Tymoshenko fails to get PM post. Yulia Tymoshenko, leading force in Ukraine’s 2004 “Orange Revolution”, failed to win backing from parliament to restore her as prime minister on Tuesday, plunging the ex-Soviet state into new political uncertainty. Ms. Tymoshenko was backed by 225 votes, one short of a majority in the 450-seat assembly. (Globe and Mail)

Russia treaty freeze a warning to NATO. Russia will not start a new arms race when it freezes compliance with a Cold War arms treaty on Wednesday but it does want to send a clear message it is not happy about NATO’s eastward expansion. (Reuters)

Greenland ice melts at record rate, scientists find. Rising temperatures caused ice to melt in Greenland at a record rate this year, climate scientists reported Monday. “The amount of ice lost by Greenland over the last year is the equivalent of two times all the ice in the Alps or a layer of water more than one-half-mile deep covering Washington, D.C.,” said Konrad Steffen, an Arctic expert at the University of Colorado in Boulder. (McClatchy)

Indian parties in tense poll battle. Voters in India’s western state of Gujarat are to decide the political future of Narendra Modi, Gujarat’s chief minister who is accused of turning a blind eye to anti-Muslim riots five years ago. The BJP remains popular in Gujarat, though analysts say the election race will be tight. (Al Jazeera)

Celestine Bohlen: Letter from Moldova. Transnistria is in a quandary: While it calls itself a country, no one else does. It has a flag, stamps, banknotes and the self-proclaimed name of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. But to the former Soviet republic of Moldova, where it is situated, the eel-shaped sliver of land with 550,000 people is just the “left bank” of the Dniester River. The Russian-speaking area, which fought a bloody battle for independence from Romanian-speaking Moldovans in 1992, is now a pawn in a new, tense game of East-West diplomacy. The refusal by President Vladimir Putin of Russia to withdraw 1,200 troops is one sticking point in ratification by NATO members of a treaty that is a cornerstone of post-Cold War security. Putin has signed legislation suspending Moscow’s participation in the treaty as of Wednesday. (International Herald Tribune)

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